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A Beatrice man who assaulted police last year was sentenced to probation.

Preston Lawrence-Hutchison was sentenced to serve 20 months of probation for attempted third-offense shoplifting and attempted third-degree assault on an officer.

These charges were reduced from third-offense shoplifting and assault on an officer as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, who recommended probation in the case.

Defense attorney Marc Odgaard also requested probation.

“He’s admitted and acknowledges that he’s got a problem,” Odgaard said. “He understands he’s got a very real problem and that’s consistent with when we talked throughout this whole thing, it’s ‘I need to get out of here and get home.’”

Lawrence-Hutchison had never previously been given probation, and also served 338 days in the Gage County Detention Center during the pendency of the case, which both factored into the sentence by District Court Judge Julie Smith.

Odgaard added that alcohol has been at the root of Lawrence-Hutchison’s issues, and that the defendant has owned up to his problems.

He certainly has learned his lesson,” Odgaard said. “He does have a history, but what is consistent through that history is the use of alcohol that gets him into trouble. You combine that with the diagnosis for him and obviously…he needs help in a big way and he understands that.”

Lawrence-Hutchison was arrested last May after police responded to a shoplifting report at Walmart in Beatrice. Workers advised that earlier in the day a male and female caused a scene outside the store when they got into an argument.

Employees watched surveillance footage, and observed the man, identified as Lawrence-Hutchison, stash a bottle of alcohol in his pants.

Three hours later police responded to a disturbance where Lawrence-Hutchison was chasing a woman. He was detained, and when police went to get him out of the car he lunged at an officer and kicked him in the arm and stomach. He also slammed his head into the officer.

A breath test revealed Lawrence-Hutchison’s alcohol level was .212.



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